Disclaimer: My debt to Ted, Terry, and Disney has piled up to make Jack's debt to Davy Jones look insignificant. Significantly insignificant. But there you have it. I don't own it.
remember: To recall to the mind with effort; think of again; to recall or become aware of suddenly or spontaneously.
recall: To summon back to awareness of or concern with the subject or situation at hand; the ability to remember information or experiences.
forget: To treat with thoughtless inattention; neglect; to leave behind unintentionally; to banish from one's thoughts
He's not the remembering sort. He drinks the rum because he thinks it will help him forget about Elizabeth. Not that he's thinking about her. Because he's not. But he drinks, because usually he forgets things when he drinks (even if he's not remembering them in the first place) but instead of forgetting, the bloody compass isn't working again and he's remembering. Recalling the feel of her enticingly warm body, so close to his, and the curve of her shoulder under his hand, the way her face had looked, illuminated by firelight, and her hair had sifted and twirled around his fingers.
It's been at least six months since then—since she'd burned his rum, and saved dear William, and then helped save him too. Though really, not in the way she thinks. Or most people think. Or even sometimes the way he thinks. Not that he thinks about her. Because he doesn't.
He could still remember (If he was the remembering sort, at least, he could remember. But he's not. The remembering sort. He doesn't remember anything.) the way she'd looked at him as Will had ushered her onto the Dauntless, in the moment he could have taken the oars and pushed away from the navy ship and escaped, remembered the impassioned plea to her fiancé and her father that he at least get a guarded room and that they not put him in the brig with Barbossa's crew of no-longer-undead pirates. Remembered the smile she'd given him upon succeeding with that endeavor. He'd told her stories when she came to visit him, because it was three days to Port Royal, and William wasn't talking to her, and she didn't want to talk to the Commodore.
In return for his stories, she'd smuggled in food that wasn't slop, and unlocked the manacles that the navy believed kept him from escaping, and even brought him rum (where she'd found it, he'd never know—and that she drank it, only he'd ever know). She'd told him stories about her governess, stating her as the main reason she knew so much about pirates. Something that sounded a lot like bribery was embedded in those particular stories.
She was the only one who visited, but he liked it that way.
He'd expected to be able to forget about her. After all, that was what he did. Forget. About women most especially. He expected to go back to the Pearl, and the sea (they were, after all, his first loves. His only loves). But he has the Pearl and the sea, and his freedom, and all he can think about is how Elizabeth Swann might be Turner now, and she might be married, and happy, and she might even have a little William on the way (Bleauck, he thinks, sticking out his tongue in disgust at the thought. No creativity, the Turner family.) and whatever she's doing she is most definitely not thinking about him or the Pearl, or piracy or freedom.
And all he wanted was to forget all about her. Or not remember her. He doesn't know which, but he wants her out of his head.
But who was he kidding, really? Jack Sparrow might not have been the remembering sort…but Elizabeth Swann was unforgettable.
Which had put him in a conundrum. He wanted to see her. But at the same time, he needed desperately to be as far away from her as possible. And that was FAR, far away. From her, and from Port Royal, and from the whelp who was possibly already married to her and lavishing her in any way a blacksmith could (he briefly entertained the idea that Mr. Turner had expanded his business, or better, converted to something like merchantry. If that's a word. Which probably it isn't. But he's Captain Jack Sparrow. He can make words up.) and maybe, maybe she was pregnant and happy, and all his mooning over the way she'd looked at him in the moment before he really lost all sense due to the rum was completely useless.
But then he remembers (No. Not remembers. But it's there, all the same.) that she'd come to see him the night before he was to be hanged, stuffed into boys clothes with her hair tucked into a hat that looked very suspiciously like his own (and if his own hadn't been on his head at the time, he'd have been very unreceptive) and she'd given the guard a very nasty look, and passed Jack an intricate little carved wooden bead, and smiled at him. "For saving my life," she'd told him, watching his fingers work the bead into his hair.
"More than once," he had reminded her, and she'd smiled at him.
"If there was anything I could do…"
"Short of trading me spots, love, there's nothing can be done. I think my pirate days are over."
She'd asked him to tell her about the sparrow on his arm, and that had been that. And he wishes he hadn't remembered that. Because it makes the absence of her a bit more profound, because she'd desperately wanted to save him, and hadn't known how. Worse, he hadn't bothered to try to plan, and instead had woven her an all-too-truthful story about the rising sun, and the sparrow unable (or maybe afraid) to land, and the spray of the sea.
He wonders (Now he can deal with wondering. Wondering is very ambiguous. Ambiguous is good.) what it would be like to kiss her. He feels slightly juvenile whenever he wonders this (Not, of course, that he wonders often. He doesn't), and half expects himself to turn bright red. He doesn't. But then he dreams (Also very indefinite. Dreaming, that is.) that they meet again, and somehow she doesn't hate him or think he's disgusting, and he can taste vanilla and confinement and rebellion on her lips. He savors it, and then the dream goes farther, and he's seeing beautiful, untouched skin (he presumes it's untouched. It has been six months), and he wakes up aching like he's never ached before.
So he drinks. And he hopes that the rum will help him forget things he hasn't even remembered, yet. Or ever will. Remember, he means. And when it doesn't help him in the forgetting process, he just drinks more, and damn's his blasted compass, and bloody women. And 'ole what's her face. (Elizabeth, his mind screams. And he ignores it. Memory never did him any good, anyway.)
But the compass won't let him forget his memory. Tia Dalma's bloody compass. Bloody Tia Dalma. Bloody women. Bloody, bloody, beautiful Lizzy Swann.
He gives his empty rum bottle an angry look, staring at it as if it's the bottle's fault he isn't drunk enough to stop remembering. And start forgetting. "Why is the rum always gone?" he asks. The compass spins on the table, and he ignores it. He's going to forget all about that bloody compass. As soon as he finds more rum.
"Oh," he says as he sways drunkenly. "That's why."
As he forces himself to walk somewhat steadily, and swings his door open with a little more force than necessary (a trifling bit more than a little more than necessary, if he wants to get technical…) he hears the compass arrow revolving.
He pretends he doesn't know what's making the noise. After all, he's Jack Sparrow. And Jack Sparrow doesn't remember things. He's not the remembering sort.